Chicago – Members of the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee are studying the idea of putting video cameras on police officers throughout the state. On Friday, October 17th, the committee met in Chicago to hear testimony from both proponents and opponents of the idea.
“This is a very intriguing idea, but at this point we are just trying to learn more about the possibilities,” said Judiciary Committee Minority Spokesman State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “There are a lot of potential benefits and issues that we have to study before taking the next step.”
The idea of police body cameras has been in the national spotlight recently after a police officer in Ferguson, Mo fatally shot a suspect.
Proponents of the camera idea note that it could provide evidence for both police and citizens, whenever questions arise over confrontations during arrests and questioning.
Opponents worry about potential issues of privacy, as well as the reliability of such devices and the problems determining when they would be turned on.
“At the end of the day, if this is something that could help law enforcement and Illinois residents, then we should explore the idea further,” said Senator Barickman. “But this is a very serious issue, and we need to ensure that our law enforcement officers are able to continue doing their jobs in an effective manner to keep our communities safe.”
The General Assembly is expected to soon craft a new eavesdropping law, due to a court that struck down the previous statute. Body cameras could become an issue during that process as well, as new the legislation could end up limiting their use.